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UNDER HEAVEN & RIVER OF STARS


giofranchi
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Parsad,

I know that novels, which have nothing to do with finance and investments, don’t belong here… But Kraven wrote me a message saying: “It’s very peaceful here. I always find that when I get some geographic distance I am able to think more clearly.”

And I experience the same kind of clearness of thought each time I read my favorite Canadian author: Guy Gavriel Kay.

Generally, I don’t read novels. After reading everything from Hugo, Dickens, Tolstoj, Dostoevskiy, etc, I generally find novels a bit boring… Guy Kay is a glaring exception!

The richness of life he is always able to describe, and his poignant observations on human nature, go well beyond any plot scheme (plot which, by the way, never fails to be enthralling!). Every now and then, I really enjoy take a little distance from the daily routine and read (or reread) one novel of his. I always come back happily and enthusiastically recharged!

During the last three days (Easter Holidays) I read “Under Heaven”, which I still missed. And I was not disappointed at all! Moreover, today Mr. Kay’s latest novel “River of Stars” is finally out.

 

Again, I beg your pardon, if this is out of place. I just wanted to share on the board something that often enables me “to think more clearly”.

 

giofranchi

 

“As time goes on I get more and more convinced that the right method in investment is to put fairly large sums into enterprises which one thinks one knows something about and in the management of which one thoroughly believes. It is a mistake to think that one limits one’s risk by spreading too much between enterprises about which one knows little and has no reason for special confidence.” - John Maynard Keynes

 

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Guy Gavriel Kay eh?

 

which one will be a good start ?

 

Unless you like the fantasy genre, I would leave aside both the “Fionovar Tapestry” trilogy, and “Tigana”… too many magicians there!  :) (Otherwise, I think they are extremely good) And I would choose among other more historical novels. “Sailing to Sarantium” and “The Lord of Emperors” imo would be a good choice. They are about the city of Byzantium, during the reign of emperor Justinian, and about the building of Santa Sofia. The same Byzantium that enthralled Mr. Yeats and prompted him to write some of his best and most renowned poems. They are about a very gifted artist and about what it really means and is really required to perform exceptional and enduring work.

 

giofranchi

 

“As time goes on I get more and more convinced that the right method in investment is to put fairly large sums into enterprises which one thinks one knows something about and in the management of which one thoroughly believes. It is a mistake to think that one limits one’s risk by spreading too much between enterprises about which one knows little and has no reason for special confidence.” - John Maynard Keynes

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Parsad,

I know that novels, which have nothing to do with finance and investments, don’t belong here… But Kraven wrote me a message saying: “It’s very peaceful here. I always find that when I get some geographic distance I am able to think more clearly.”

And I experience the same kind of clearness of thought each time I read my favorite Canadian author: Guy Gavriel Kay.

Generally, I don’t read novels. After reading everything from Hugo, Dickens, Tolstoj, Dostoevskiy, etc, I generally find novels a bit boring… Guy Kay is a glaring exception!

The richness of life he is always able to describe, and his poignant observations on human nature, go well beyond any plot scheme (plot which, by the way, never fails to be enthralling!). Every now and then, I really enjoy take a little distance from the daily routine and read (or reread) one novel of his. I always come back happily and enthusiastically recharged!

During the last three days (Easter Holidays) I read “Under Heaven”, which I still missed. And I was not disappointed at all! Moreover, today Mr. Kay’s latest novel “River of Stars” is finally out.

 

Again, I beg your pardon, if this is out of place. I just wanted to share on the board something that often enables me “to think more clearly”.

 

giofranchi

 

“As time goes on I get more and more convinced that the right method in investment is to put fairly large sums into enterprises which one thinks one knows something about and in the management of which one thoroughly believes. It is a mistake to think that one limits one’s risk by spreading too much between enterprises about which one knows little and has no reason for special confidence.” - John Maynard Keynes

 

Gio, thanks for the recommendation.  I for one think a thread about non finance/investment related books would be good. 

 

I like fiction that like Gio says can take you away from the daily routine and maybe even take you to a different place.

 

I'll throw one out there I recently read for those who like post apocalyptic or disaster fiction - Flood by Stephen Baxter.  Very interesting premise.  Water overtakes the earth and the novel spans many years as people deal with the ramifications.  There is a sequel as well, Ark, that was ok, but I didn't think as good.

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The lions of Al-Rassan is great too!

 

Yes! To start, probably even better! If you want just one novel, instead of a story that spans two books.  :)

 

giofranchi

 

“As time goes on I get more and more convinced that the right method in investment is to put fairly large sums into enterprises which one thinks one knows something about and in the management of which one thoroughly believes. It is a mistake to think that one limits one’s risk by spreading too much between enterprises about which one knows little and has no reason for special confidence.” - John Maynard Keynes

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

I spent the last 15 days reading “River of Stars”.

You know, I think I have read quite a few novels in my life. I have read every novel by Dickens, by Hugo, by Tolstoj, and by Dostoevskij, every single novel they have written. I have read Conrad, Flaubert, Fitzgerald, and I have read every play by Shakespeare. And I have read quite a bit of philosophy too: from Seneca to Hume, from Machiavelli to Nietzsche. I have even read the sacred tests of almost all religions: from the Bible to Lao-Tzu, from Confucio to the Dhammapada and the Hagakure. I love poetry (Yeats, Neruda, Achmatova, etc.).

Yet, I don’t think I am exaggerating, if I say that in Canada today lives one of the greatest poets and novelists of all times, and his name is Guy Gavriel Kay.

“River of Stars” is an epic tale that goes well beyond storytelling: it is deeply rooted in history, it is touchingly poetic, and it is a sort of treaty on warfare. And warfare is all about risk-management, so, as weird as it might sound, this novel could be read both as a poem and as a treaty on risk-management!

By the way, I remember that also Mr. Taleb, in one book of his, writes about an encounter he had with some generals of the US Army. And he tells how impressed he really was by the profound understanding those people showed to possess about risk and how to manage it!

 

I cannot recommend “River of Stars” strongly enough. His most thoughtful work to date.

 

giofranchi

 

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I spent the last 15 days reading “River of Stars”.

You know, I think I have read quite a few novels in my life. I have read every novel by Dickens, by Hugo, by Tolstoj, and by Dostoevskij, every single novel they have written. I have read Conrad, Flaubert, Fitzgerald, and I have read every play by Shakespeare. And I have read quite a bit of philosophy too: from Seneca to Hume, from Machiavelli to Nietzsche. I have even read the sacred tests of almost all religions: from the Bible to Lao-Tzu, from Confucio to the Dhammapada and the Hagakure. I love poetry (Yeats, Neruda, Achmatova, etc.).

Yet, I don’t think I am exaggerating, if I say that in Canada today lives one of the greatest poets and novelists of all times, and his name is Guy Gavriel Kay.

“River of Stars” is an epic tale that goes well beyond storytelling: it is deeply rooted in history, it is touchingly poetic, and it is a sort of treaty on warfare. And warfare is all about risk-management, so, as weird as it might sound, this novel could be read both as a poem and as a treaty on risk-management!

By the way, I remember that also Mr. Taleb, in one book of his, writes about an encounter he had with some generals of the US Army. And he tells how impressed he really was by the profound understanding those people showed to possess about risk and how to manage it!

 

I cannot recommend “River of Stars” strongly enough. His most thoughtful work to date.

 

giofranchi

 

Gio, that is quite a compelling recommendation!  Thank you, I had never heard of Kay until now.  Just ordered "River of Stars", and look forward to delivery.

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Speaking about fiction books, Liberty was asking me on another thread, i will rebound here! For those into fantasy and medieval story, I know a lot knows Game of Thrones because of the TV series, but I suggest you to read the book series, entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin.

 

I read mostly SF and fantasy, my favourites books ever would be : 1984 by Orwell, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Ender's Game by Card, some of Iain M.Banks and Vernor Vinge, Sarantine Mosaic by Kay just mentioned previously on this thread, Robin Hobb with the Farseer and Tawny Man series.

 

A great entertaining book for me is still Le Comte de Monte-Cristo from Dumas.

 

I still need to read more classics and I wold like to hear you Gio on your must-read classics.

 

 

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Speaking about fiction books, Liberty was asking me on another thread, i will rebound here! For those into fantasy and medieval story, I know a lot knows Game of Thrones because of the TV series, but I suggest you to read the book series, entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin.

 

I read mostly SF and fantasy, my favourites books ever would be : 1984 by Orwell, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Ender's Game by Card, some of Iain M.Banks and Vernor Vinge, Sarantine Mosaic by Kay just mentioned previously on this thread, Robin Hobb with the Farseer and Tawny Man series.

 

A great entertaining book for me is still Le Comte de Monte-Cristo from Dumas.

 

I still need to read more classics and I wold like to hear you Gio on your must-read classics.

 

I loved Ender's Game.  The movie is coming out and hopefully it will be good.  At one point I tried to read some of the many sequels, but couldn't get into it.

 

Check out Flood by Stephen Baxter and Dies the Fire by S.I. Stirling. 

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Speaking about fiction books, Liberty was asking me on another thread, i will rebound here! For those into fantasy and medieval story, I know a lot knows Game of Thrones because of the TV series, but I suggest you to read the book series, entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin.

 

I read mostly SF and fantasy, my favourites books ever would be : 1984 by Orwell, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Ender's Game by Card, some of Iain M.Banks and Vernor Vinge, Sarantine Mosaic by Kay just mentioned previously on this thread, Robin Hobb with the Farseer and Tawny Man series.

 

A great entertaining book for me is still Le Comte de Monte-Cristo from Dumas.

 

I still need to read more classics and I wold like to hear you Gio on your must-read classics.

 

Nice, that looks a lot like my SF bookshelf. :) The Hyperion series was excellent, as are most other books by Dan Simmons. A fire upon the deep (Vernor Vinge) is one of my favourite SF novels. Iain M. Banks has written some excellent stuff as well (The Player of Games comes to mind). I've read Hobb too, also very good. In fact, I bought the Mad Ship trilogy a second time last month (for some reason I thought it was a new trilogy I hadn't read before. Any takers?). Thanks to this forum I started reading Guy Kavriel Kay. Also really, really good, will buy a couple more books from him. The George R.R. Martin books were also very nice, though I found the later books in the series not as good as the first ones. The one writer I am missing in your post is Peter F. Hamilton. The Night's Dawn trilogy was great. His latest book, Great North Road also very enjoyable. You might also like Alistair Reynolds.

 

Regarding the classics: I occasionally try one. Currently I have lying around here: Don Quixote, Lolita, Atlas Shrugged and something from Kafka. But most of this stuff is so densely written that I tend to stop halfway (if not earlier). But maybe my picks are just unlucky.

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A friend of mine pointed me to this fantastic SF-reviewer a couple of weeks ago: http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/ . Looks like a good source for new reading material. The Harry Potter reviews are quite funny. Somehow this guy has a real problem with the series!

 

I should warn up front that when Harry Potter first became popular, I was deluged with so much talk about the books that I got thoroughly sick of the very mention of them. I might, therefore, have a bit of a negative bias, although one of the reasons for waiting this long to read them was to let that die down. That being said, no matter what sort of expectations I went into this book with, I don't think anything would have prepared me for how much I hated the beginning.
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I spent the last 15 days reading “River of Stars”.

You know, I think I have read quite a few novels in my life. I have read every novel by Dickens, by Hugo, by Tolstoj, and by Dostoevskij, every single novel they have written. I have read Conrad, Flaubert, Fitzgerald, and I have read every play by Shakespeare. And I have read quite a bit of philosophy too: from Seneca to Hume, from Machiavelli to Nietzsche. I have even read the sacred tests of almost all religions: from the Bible to Lao-Tzu, from Confucio to the Dhammapada and the Hagakure. I love poetry (Yeats, Neruda, Achmatova, etc.).

Yet, I don’t think I am exaggerating, if I say that in Canada today lives one of the greatest poets and novelists of all times, and his name is Guy Gavriel Kay.

“River of Stars” is an epic tale that goes well beyond storytelling: it is deeply rooted in history, it is touchingly poetic, and it is a sort of treaty on warfare. And warfare is all about risk-management, so, as weird as it might sound, this novel could be read both as a poem and as a treaty on risk-management!

By the way, I remember that also Mr. Taleb, in one book of his, writes about an encounter he had with some generals of the US Army. And he tells how impressed he really was by the profound understanding those people showed to possess about risk and how to manage it!

 

I cannot recommend “River of Stars” strongly enough. His most thoughtful work to date.

 

giofranchi

 

Gio!!! I'm amazed. You must be at least 80 to have read that much ;D read separate books with each eye at the same time  :o double speed read  :P. I know how busy you already are. I'm impressed.

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Thanks guys for recommandations. Concernant classics, I tried Don Quixote last year, but it is hard, I have read only the first part so far!

 

I must admit that Harry Potter was for me a really good read, especially book 3,6,4.

 

Have to throw in my two cents here. I can't believe that anyone could ever read every word of Don Quixote. It was just torture for me. I started skimming, then gave up.

 

Harry Potter is another story. Loved Harry. Every one of them. And the Lord of the Rings of course.

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Stephen Baxter is one of my favourite writers.  I really liked Manifold Space, Manifold Time.

 

Also, Exultant, Coalescent, and Transcendent.  The guy has to be the most generally knowledgeable Sci-fi writer I have ever read, a list that includes all the biggies.  He took on Evolution which was a bit tough going, and another series that follows British Roman history that is a little tough going as well.  Some hits, some misses. 

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I still need to read more classics and I wold like to hear you Gio on your must-read classics.

 

Hi Jeff,

here, in no particular order, are the “classics” that I reckon required readings:

 

VICTOR HUGO: “Les Misérables”, “Ninety-Three”, “The Man Who Laughs”, most of all “William Shakespeare” and “The Toilers Of The Sea”, which I think are his true masterpieces.

 

CHARLES DICKENS: “David Copperfield”, “A Tale Of Two Cities”, “The Chimes”, “Great Expectations”.

 

LEO TOLSTOY: all his Christian tales, “Chadzi-Murat”, “What Is Art?”, “Resurrection”, I know he is famous for his novels, like “War And Peace” and “Anna Karenina”, but my four selections are what I like the best and what I continue to reread time and time again.

 

FEODOR DOSTOYEVSKY: “The Brothers Karamazov” and “Demons”.

 

FRIEDRICH SCHILLER: “The Robbers”.

 

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE: “The Birth Of Tragedy”, “The Gay Science: With A Prelude In German Rhymes And An Appendix Of Songs”, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”.

 

GUSTAVE FLAUBERT: “Salambò”.

 

JOSEPH CONRAD: “Typhoon” and “Youth: A Narrative”.

 

WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS: “The Collected Poems” and “The Celtic Twilight”.

 

PABLO NERUDA: “The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems”.

 

ANNA AKHMATOVA: “The Complete Poems Of Anna Akhmatova”.

 

WALT WHITMAN: “Leaves Of Grass”.

 

FRANCIS SCOTT FIZGERALD: “The Great Gatsby”.

 

J.R.R. TOLKIEN: “The Lord Of The Rings” and “The Silmarillion”.

 

GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ: “One Hundred Years Of Solitude”.

 

SENECA: “Dialogues And Essays”; EPICTETUS: “The Handbook”; MARCUS AURELIUS: “Meditations”; NICCOLO’ MACHIAVELLI: “The Prince”; DAVID HUME: “Selected Essays”; ADAM SMITH: “The Wealth Of Nations”; RALPH WALDO EMERSON: “The Essential Writings”; BENJAMIN FRANKLYN: “Poor Richard Almanack” and “Autobiography”.

 

More recently I have really enjoyed the “American Trilogy” by PHILIP ROTH: “American Pastoral”, “I Married A Communist”, and “The Human Stain”.

 

 

The poetic spirit is immortal and cannot be removed from mankind: it can only be lost if mankind loses itself or its willpower.

--Friedrich Schiller

 

 

giofranchi

 

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